Elevated CO2 influences competition for growth, photosynthetic performance and biochemical composition in Neopyropia yezoensis and Ulva prolifera

Highlights

  • The growth of Neopyropia yezoensis was significantly inhibited by Ulva prolifera.
  • Elevated CO2 enhanced the resistance of N. yezoensis to the effect of U. prolifera.
  • Elevated CO2 increased the competitive ability of U. prolifera.

Abstract

The occurrence of various marine macroalgae in the same niche will inevitably lead to interspecific competition due to similar environmental requirements. With the increasing global atmospheric CO2 concentration, the resulting ocean acidification can potentially influence competition among macroalgae in the future. Neopyropia yezoensis (Rhodophyta, formerly Pyropia yezoensis) and the epiphytic alga Ulva prolifera (Chlorophyta) were selected for investigating competition among macroalgae grown under different CO2 conditions. The results showed that when cultured with U. proliferaN. yezoensis‘ growth rate was significantly inhibited along with a sharp decrease in net photosynthetic rate. Although CO2 decreased the growth rate of N. yezoensis, it enhanced the resistance of the alga to the allelopathic effect of U. prolifera. While no difference was found between U. prolifera grown in monoculture and biculture, strong competitive ability was observed. CO2 could enhance this ability with higher net photosynthetic rate. However, CO2 significantly inhibited the carotenoid synthesis in both plants. This inhibition in N. yezoensis was more pronounced in the presence of U. prolifera. Biculture promoted the accumulation of soluble protein in N. yezoensis while it inhibited the process in U. prolifera. In addition, it enhanced the inhibitory effect of acidification on soluble carbohydrates of both plants. Elevated CO2 levels alleviated the competition between N. yezoensis and U. prolifera, but the latter can become the more competitive epiphytic alga which can impact the future of nori culture.

Sun J., Bao M., Xu T., Li F., Wu H., Li X. & Xu J., 2021. Elevated CO2 influences competition for growth, photosynthetic performance and biochemical composition in Neopyropia yezoensis and Ulva prolifera. Algal Research 56: 102313. doi: 10.1016/j.algal.2021.102313. Article (subscription required).

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